Supreme Court Rules Generic Word + .COM Can Be Trademarked
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Last week a landmark case was decided in the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the ability to trademark a generic word + .com. In an 8-1 decision, the SCOTUS ruled that Booking.com could register a federal trademark for “Booking.com” even though generic terms such as “booking” cannot be registered as trademarks.
In the case of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office vs Booking.com B.V. the ruling states that a generic term paired with .com “is a generic name for a class of goods or services only if the term has that meaning to consumers.” This is considered a big win for owners of one word domain names and companies currently utilizing such assets.
If there was any confusion that owners of generic one word .com weren’t already in a great position, the SCOTUS judges outlined many of the benefits of these domains in the ruling:
“The owners of short, generic domain names enjoy all the advantages of doing business under a generic name. These advantages exist irrespective of the trademark laws. Generic names are easy to remember. Because they immediately convey the nature of the business, the owner needs to expend less effort and expense educating consumers… Granting trademark protection to “generic.com” marks confers additional competitive benefits on their owners by allowing them to exclude others from using similar domain names”.
It is quite interesting to see domain names focused on by the Supreme Court. One word .coms have continued to rise in value and scarcity over the last several years and this ruling is likely to accelerate higher pricing and demand for these sought after digital assets.